The Y2K Scare By: Braden Bushart

The Early Fear

From the year 1999 and 2000, people were concerned about the rollover on computer systems with the two digit endings. People were concerned with whether or not the computer system will go back to 1990 since computers had the two digit data storage system.

The Reason for the two digit system

The two digit data storage system was implemented because in the early days of computing technology, memory was expensive and logistically difficult, and thus designers needed to cut corners where they could.

Word About Y2K Spreads

Soon, word about Y2k was starting to spread around the internet and newspapers. Tons and tons of people started discussing it, and rumors started spreading. People wanted to know what would ultimately happen.

What will happen?

People were very concerned on what the Y2K bug would do. some doomsayers predicted that if Y2K struck, banks would fail, military systems would become paralyzed, planes would fall out of the sky, elevators would stop, stock exchanges would collapse, and life in general would be dramatically disrupted.

How they attempted to stop the Y2K bug

In November 1999 the Washington Post reported that U.S. businesses and the government had spent at least $100 billion in dealing with the Y2K bug and declared it "the most expensive peacetime catastrophe in modern history." Most groups chose to play it safe, investing hefty sums to purchase Y2K -compliance software or hire outside consultants to root through their systems and fix any potential trouble spots.

Dec 31st and Jan 1st

As midnight on December 31, 1999 approached, businesses and governments all over the world maintained staff on-call, ready to respond at a moment's notice should catastrophe strike. Just to be on the safe side, a number of companies had shut down operations on New Years' Eve, and others took measures to protect against security breaches. Finally, the crucial date came and went, and to the surprise of many, virtually nothing happened—certainly nothing on the order of the more dire predictions.


Some people believed that the Y2K crisis was an overblown panic that caused businesses to waste billions of dollars, and going so far as to demand that those responsible for the fervor were to be held accountable. To others, the investment was not only a colossal waste, but an indication of the information + technology industry's inability to manage—economically and computer-based risks.

Works Cited

"Y2K Fever Grips the Nation, December, 1999." Historic U.S. Events, Gale, 2012. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 3 May 2017.

"Y2K Bug." Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce, edited by Jane A. Malonis, vol. 2, Gale, 2002, pp. 787-789. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 3 May 2017.

Michael Posner. "Y2K." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Gale, 2013. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 3 May 2017.

Valentine, Rebecca. "Overview." UXL American Decades: 2000-2009, UXL, 2012, pp. 153-154. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 3 May 2017.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.